Clinton gives turkey reason to say thanks
Free as a bird after traditional presidential 'pardon'
November 24, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A turkey named Harry has reason to welcome Thanksgiving in a way his fellow fowl can't. The 50-pound Minnesota native was given a "pardon" Wednesday by President Clinton, upholding a tradition that calls for a chosen bird to be spared execution on the way to a dinner table.
Harry, brought to the White House by the National Turkey Federation, received his presidential stay of execution during a Rose Garden ceremony that included children from the Greater Washington Boys and Girls Club.
Now a free bird, Harry will live out his days at a petting zoo in Fairfax, Virginia, the president said.
The annual "pardon" dates back to 1947, when President Harry Truman received -- and spared -- the first presidential turkey.
White House Correspondent Kelly Wallace contributed to this report.
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